One of my previous lovers left me for a woman. That made me stop and think. She swings both ways now, I think, if and when she swings at all. I guess that’s natural when your life consists primarily of sensation. She’s an artist. She’s also an atheist, or so she says. They’re the saddest people in the world, or so it seems. They also seem to be more inclined to drug use, though I couldn’t place causality. They go way beyond recreation, inspiration, and good ol’ fashioned “getting fucked up”. They’re into Club Med, something to kill the pain, that special kind of sympathetic pain that accrues mostly to druggies; they need it special. But don’t forget the ‘opium of the masses’. It kills pain, too, the pain of being. I think the main problem with religion is the picture in our minds of the traditional battle gods with their long beards, war wigs, and bad teeth, threatening us with eternal damnation if we slip and fail. Thor is there with a fist full of thunderbolts, and so’s his boss Woden and Frida the Wonder Woman, Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday hanging over us like a sentence of death and a book of lies. It’s so negative, promising Hell for bad behavior, as if we couldn’t behave ourselves otherwise. Islam takes the opposite tack, promising a Heaven full of virgins if we do the right things here and now. Score one for Islam. You already know what Hell is like. Buddhism doesn’t do any of that. It doesn’t lead you into battle, nor does it promise Heaven nor Hell. It just doesn’t do much of anything at all, actually. This world is all illusion. No shit. These are not religion’s bright spots. People have done things in the name of religion that I wouldn’t do to my worst enemy. It doesn’t have to be so hard.